Authorities revealed that Maya Angelou, an African American author and activist, has become the first Black woman to appear on US federal currency. The African Women Quarters scheme program, which was passed into law in January 2021, includes the coin.
According to a press statement from the US Mint, “the first coins containing Angelou’s likeness on the American quarter, a 25-cent piece, have begun shipping.”
“It is my honor to present our nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris Gibson.
Further adding, “Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift.”
For the past 90 years, the quarter has featured George Washington, the first president of the United States, on one side and an eagle on the other.
On one side of the new quarters, Washington is depicted, and on the other, Angelou is depicted.
The coins were struck in Philadelphia and Denver, respectively.
Between 2022 and 2025, the US Mint will issue quarters honouring five diverse female trailblazers who have made significant contributions to the country as part of the African Women Quarters programme.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female major chief; Nina Otero-Warren, a New Mexico suffragist; and Anna May Wong, a Chinese American cinema actress, are among the other women who will be honoured in 2022.
Angelou, who was born in Missouri in 1928, rose to international prominence after her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was published.